Poet receives tax abatement for Ohio plant expansion

By Lisa Gibson | May 25, 2017

The Marion (Ohio) County Commission has granted a tax abatement for Poet Biorefining’s ethanol plant expansion in Marion. The project is expected to begin this summer and be complete in the third quarter of 2018, according to Poet.

Commissioners voted unanimously earlier this month to approve an 80 percent, 12-year tax abatement on Poet’s real estate improvements, according to the Marion County Commission office. The value of the abatement is estimated to be between $1.5 million and $2 million.

The expansion will double Poet’s current capacity at the plant, from 70 million gallons per year to 150 million. The company’s on-site high-protein animal feed production also will increase, from 178,000 tons per year to 360,000 tons, according to Poet.

The increased ethanol production will boost the amount of corn purchased from local farmers from 24 million bushels per year (costing Poet about $330 million annually) to 50 million.

The Marion expansion is projected to cost about $120 million, create more than 225 construction-related jobs and bring in up to 21 permanent positions, according to Poet. In a statement, Poet Biorefining President Jeff Lautt attributes the expansion to increased interest among drivers in using E15 in their vehicles. Demand will follow, he said.  “POET is hopeful that, among other issues, summer limitations on 15 percent biofuel blends will be lifted so that consumers have greater access to clean, homegrown biofuels.”

Rick Fox, general manager of the Marion plant, said in a statement: “Marion proved to be the perfect location for this expansion. We have a strong partnership with this community, there is a talented workforce here, and the state of Ohio is a strong agricultural state and steadfast supporter of biofuels. This plant has continuously been a top performer with a creative, hard-working team, and we’re excited to be the site for Poet’s largest expansion ever.”